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Rifle-Toting Teen Sues City, Police Over Arrest

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Sean Combs is seen in court on July 11, 2012. (WWJ Photo/Ron Dewey)

Sean Combs is seen in court on July 11, 2012. (WWJ Photo/Ron Dewey)

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BIRMINGHAM (WWJ/AP) - An 18-year-old Troy man who was acquitted on charges of carrying a loaded rifle through downtown Birmingham is now suing the city.

Sean Combs says his federal lawsuit aims to get Birmingham and its police officers to admit they were wrong for arresting him back in April.

“I’m kind of sick of their dodging it that they did anything wrong,” Combs told The Detroit News.

Combs was arrested while walking along Old Woodward Avenue with a loaded M-1 rifle strapped to his back on April 13. Birmingham police said Combs refused to cooperate when officers requested his ID, even though he told them he was 18.

Police testified that Combs was being loud and boisterous, trying to get attention, which drew a crowd of teens. But an attorney for Combs said his client merely had the M-1 military rifle strapped to his back and was not waving it around or pointing it at anyone. Combs said he was just exercising his right to bear arms.

A judge in July threw out a charge of resisting and obstructing police. A jury then found Combs not guilty of brandishing a firearm and disturbing the peace.

The day after charges were dismissed, Combs’ attorney Jim Makowski told WWJ legal analyst and Talk Radio 1270 host Charlie Langton they planned to file a lawsuit against the city.

“We offered to dismiss this case without any cost to the city of Birmingham on over six occasions, they chose not to,” said Makowski. “If there is a civil suit, I think people need to ask ‘Why wasn’t this case dismissed before trial?’”

Combs’ lawsuit claims he was falsely arrested, falsely imprisoned and had his Second Amendment rights violated. His lawsuit also alleges that because of the trial, Combs has lost wages and his reputation was damaged.

“They were rude and disrespectful to my client from the get-go. Nobody called 911, nobody was following him … That was it, he was minding his own business,” Makowski said, adding the only thing that drew a crowd was police “harassing” his client.

The city says it’ll fight the lawsuit. No dollar amount is specified in the suit.

The case has drawn the attention of gun advocates across the nation who said Combs acted responsibly and within the law.

TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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